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Early American Life subscriber Jan Eppleman of Greencastle, Pennsylvania, was so inspired by our story "Paper Ornaments from Old Economy" in the Christmas 2007 issue that she decorated her own tree with them. Then she went a step further and designed several of her own ornaments.

When she sent a photo of her tree to us, we were so impressed we asked her to share her designs with our readers. Bless her heart, she not only sent us the designs to post on our website but also sent us some of her ornaments to photograph and display. The three designs below are from Jan's hands and heart.

ANGEL ORNAMENT

No Christmas tree is complete without at least one angel, so Jan designed her own cut-out to make a paper angel ornament. Actually, she drew two designs with slight variations, the patterns for which you can download it as a .tif file by clicking here. Or download it as a .pdf file (for Adobe Acrobat) by clicking here. Or download it as a .jpg file by clicking here.

Note that Jan took her angel one step farther than did the Old Economy ornament maker. Instead of sewing together two identical cut-outs, she used three to render an ornament with a greater sense of fullness. This variation requires only that you cut out the pattern layered three thick, then stitch it together as described in the article in the Christmas 2008 edition of Early American Life .

STAR ORNAMENT

Jan also added another way of fabricating paper ornaments with her three-dimensional star. Instead of stitching it together, she used glue. She made two identical star cut-outs, then folded them down the middle of each arm of the star. Finally she glued the tips of the two stars together to give the star some thickness. Although the star shown in our illustration does not have a hanger, you can stitch on a loop of thread to the top point to make it match your other ornaments. You can download a copy of one of the star patterns that Jan sent us in the form of a .tif file by clicking here. Or download it as a .pdf file (for Adobe Acrobat) by clicking here. Or download it as a .jpg file by clicking here.

BIRD ORNAMENT

Jan's final variation is her coup de grace, a three-dimensional holiday bird ornament made from one piece of paper without any glue or stitching. Although it's not quite origami, it's just as ingenious. Jan folded the wings through a slot cut in the body of the bird. You can control how three-dimensional the bird is by simply sliding the paper wings where you want them. You can download one of Jan's bird designs as a .tif file by clicking here. Or download it as a .pdf file (for Adobe Acrobat) by clicking here. Or download it as a .jpg file by clicking here.